I just bought a new Snap Dragon spray skirt for my Tempest 170 Pro. Snap Dragon recommends a size medium for this boat but it is so tight that I have to struggle to get it over the back of the combing. Once it’s on it sheds water very well due to the tightness but I would hate to try and put it on in rough conditions. Is it normal to have the skirt this tight? My Brooks was way looser.
Try leaving it on the cockpit for a few days and see if it loosens up a bit.
Tight is good
Try getting it wet first, most find that that helps some. You will get used to getting it on easily after a while.
It should be hard to put over the front of the coaming, not the back. You are starting at the rear and working forward aren’t you?
if it is so tight you can’t get it on or off the boat easily or it makes you nervous-than replace it. However, I’m assuming that you are putting it on from back to front. SnapDragon will custom make a spray skirt for you if you are not happy with the one you have. I have a SnapDragon sprayskirt that works really well for me on my NDK Explorer. It is not hard to get on or off and does well with multiple rolls…
You raise a good point.
In whitewater paddling, especially when boarding and skirting under difficult circumstances, it is important to have a skirt which does not require a committee effort to get it on. And it can be more important to demo a skirt than to demo a boat. I just bought a Snapdragon ($50, ha ha), and fortunately I was able to try it on the boat in question before making the purchase. It is somewhat hard to pull forward over the front lip of the cockpit, but the skirt holds the rear lip during the operation, and it certainly is tight once on.
Wetting skirts helps because the Nylon facing material will stretch a bit when wet.
You don’t say your level of paddling skill/experience nor the intended use. Even white water devotees want and need to get the skirt off in a hurry, will tolerate a really tight skirt, but know exactly how to pull forward before up and out, have side pull techniques if can’t get to the front strap etc.
Unless you are plannig to be in surf, whitewater, etc. really little need for a super tight skirt. IT is not difficult t find one that fits snug and stays on in textured water AND comes off easily when you want it.
IF you are not planning on rough water, repeated rolling, AND do not have skills experience with panic capsizes MAJOR DANGER here!
Sea Kayaker was just sharing an article of a fellow who died capsizing and could not get out. It does happen.
Learn proper technique, have a friend and you get out of boat in safe conditions make sure you can use it safely or get another one!
LIfe is good!
I love having a nice and tight skirt for whitewater (some of my skirts require a near herculean effort when dry to put on so I usually have to wet them) but I do practice skirt removal fairly regularly. I always test each new skirt to be sure that I can remove them while underwater without the grabloop. This is a difficult thing on a tight skirt with a rubber rand, but with proper technique you can free yourself. Of course I always have a spotter watching me when I test my skirts in this fashion for obvious reasons!
Follow up to what even said
I too was trapped in my boat after it tipped. I could get the skirt off and exit fine in the pool and when I went WW kayaking I thought I was ready. Except there was one thing different from exiting in the pool. I was wearing 3mm gloves to keep my hands warm in the March waters. I could not feel my strap and I could not get the skirt off. Lucky for me that after about 75 yrds of being upside down the 3 guys I was paddling with caught up to me and flipped me over. I was able to get my head up a couple of times to get some air before they got to me but it was not fun. Now to get to the point of my post. Practice exits each and every time you add any thing new to your gear even something simple. It could save your life. Good luck and have fun.
Tight skirt reply
I’ve tried leaving it on the kayak for a few days and also wetting it before use but neither seemed to work very well. I have, of course, been putting it on in the correct manner from back to front. Guess I’ll give Snap Dragon a call.